SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (February 19, 2009)The Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice has awarded the University of Miami (UM) $250,000 toward expansion of research and educational facilities at the underwater archeological and ecological preserve, Little Salt Spring (LSS), in North Port, Sarasota County, Florida. The site is of enormous archeological and anthropological value due to its antiquity and exceptional preservation of ancient organic material.
The gift was announced earlier this year, during a reception in Naples, Florida, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the University's exploration of the preserve. The site is a national archeological treasure, said Teri A. Hansen, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice.
"Little Salt Spring is arguably one of the most important archaeological sites in the country, and it's right here in southern Sarasota County," said Hansen. "By supporting the University of Miami's work at the spring, we can help create a significant archaeological research facility in North Port while also providing public access and educational opportunities at this fascinating preserve."
The project to expand the facilities includes construction of a hurricane-protected research, training and outreach facility complete with a visitor's center. There will be classrooms for public school visits and safe storage for the priceless artifacts. The project is expected to cost $1 million. To date, the University has received $350,000 toward this goal including $250,000 from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice and $100,000 from the Selby Foundation of Sarasota.
Development of the 110-acre preserve will allow the University to increase site research and excavation. It provides UM the opportunity to share this important archaeological resource with the community, while developing an important scientific and educational hub for university students, researchers, and other academics.
|Contact: Marie Guma-Diaz|
University of Miami